Yeah, you heard me. I’m “raging” against Amazon Mom again.
It’s been a while. It was August of 2012 when I last wrote about how nonsensical it is for Amazon to continue to insist that they have to use “Amazon Mom” for their program — aimed at busy parents who would like diapers delivered to their door at a discount — because their only other option is apparently “Amazon Primary Caregiver.” What’s wrong with “Amazon Family?” I asked. I never got an answer. I encouraged people to sign a petition, put together by my friend Jeffrey, asking for Amazon to consider the change. But it never took off.
I wasn’t the only one writing about the issue though. Almost two years ago today, my friend Oren wrote about the issue as well. It meant something to him. A lot, actually. And it’s in his honor that I (and others) have decided to take up the issue again.
Because it’s time for this to finally change.
Look, we all know this program isn’t just for moms. It really never has been, short of mishandled emails addressing anyone who signed up for it as a “busy mom” and making lots of yoga references. It’s always been open to dads and other caregivers who might use the program. So why the big deal?
Because what we call things matters. Words matter. Continuing to treat “mom” as a synonym for “caregiving parent” ignores the blood-sweat-and-tears in the day-to-day hands-on work of parenting being done by non-moms. And more importantly, it props up the notion that this work properly belongs on a mom’s shoulders, not to be shared with a partner. This isn’t a “dad vs. mom” issue, it’s a family issue. This isn’t about being “offended,” it’s about seeking positive change.
The fact is, 21st century families don’t always look like they did 50 years ago. Dads are more involved. A lot more involved. Not just stay-at-home dads, but working dads as well. Moms work outside the home, often as the primary breadwinner. Single parents raise happy and healthy children, as do same-sex couples, often with no “mom” in the equation at all. But they’re all “family.”
None of this is actually different now than how it was two years ago, no. But here’s the main thing that has changed since I last wrote about this: Amazon has demonstrated that they know better. They’ve expanded the program around the world, into the UK, Canada, Germany, Austria, France, and Japan, and in all of those countries they saw the wisdom in including all parents by calling the program “Amazon Family” (or translations of the same) rather than calling it “Amazon Mom.” There is no reason not to do the same here. None.
I think Oren said it well, when he found out about Amazon Family in the UK:
In a way, it’s meaningless. Who cares about the name Amazon uses for its parenting program. On the other hand, what does it say about us? Why did Amazon bother changing the name of its parenting program when the program started in the UK? What made them realize they couldn’t get away with calling it “Amazon Mom,” and why do they get away with it here? Someone actually started a petition to change the name to Amazon Family in the US, and so far it has less than 100 signatures. Why is that? Why are we OK with letting England be more progressive than we are here when it comes to fatherhood? They have a queen! They are ruled by a freakin’ queen! We can do better than that!
Please sign that petition. Please. It’s not about a name and it’s not about me personally being offended and it’s not about stupid emails about yoga classes. It’s about a company that looks at the US, then looks at England, and then decides that over there, parent equals mom or dad, while here, well, we’re not ready for that yet.
It’s time for Jeffrey’s petition to get a shot in the arm. It’s time to get Amazon’s attention. It’s time for Amazon, a company that prides itself — like it did two years ago — on its forward-thinking, progressive policies, to live up to that reputation. It’s time to start asking them what they’re waiting for.
It’s time for #AmazonFamilyUS.
Still no word from Amazon. I hope this means they are working hard on getting all of their ducks in a row to announce, soon, that they’re making this small but important change. I guess we’ll see.
In the meantime, #AmazonFamilyUS has gone bananas. In 24 hours it’s reached 6 million+ people, and is only gathering steam.